Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


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Fatigue: A Writer’s Eternal Enemy

Fatigue. A writer’s eternal enemy. That pretty much sums up the reason this post is so late. This first week back at college has been rough and wore me out. Now, starting tomorrow, I’ll be working for four days straight, meaning Monday and Tuesday I have class, then work. It will be a rough weekend and begin of the week.

I originally intended to not post because of this. It feels like I’m seeing things through a haze and I can’t get around it. Luckily, I’ll be able to sleep in before my eight-hour work day.

The surprise I meant to post today will have to wait, but I’ll unveil what it. The newly edited prologue of my novel, Tales of The Forbidden.

The problem is that I wanted to edit it earlier this week, but couldn’t get around to it due to college and all. So, I now offer you a new date; either next Friday or Sunday. After my four-day stretch, I’ll have time to edit and present to you the shiny new version, seen for the first time. To hold you over, I’ll give you a look into part of the prologue. The first couple paragraphs.

I felt bad not having this done by the time I wanted, so I figured the least I could at least give you this. Before I pass out.

This is about as much as I can write without losing coherency, so happy reading!

Prologue

Bitter winds ripped across the gritty plain, casting grains of sand into the air. A man clad in tattered white robes stood in the desert. The sand beneath his bare feet caressed his skin, though colored crimson as blood trailed from many wounds and soaked into it. The upper part of his robes had been shredded and hung past his waist – a large gash tore across his chest and bled profusely.

The lacking garments on his upper body freed his wings; two wings larger than himself, once a stunning white were now tainted by dirt and blood, the remnants of his battle. His left-wing twitched and hung limp, and he cringed in pain, knowing full well that multiple bones were broken. The battle he ignited had stolen one of the few things that defined whom he was.

Despite his wounds, the man, no more than twenty-five summers, kept his composure. His sharp features, though twisted in slight detest, did not show the pain he felt. Pressing a hand against his abdomen to slow the blood flow of one of his wounds, he cast a glance around.

The battleground had fallen into silence, though once raged with the fight between both sides – the rebels and the holy. Now bodies littered the ground, wounded and fallen from both parties. Even though the war was fair at the beginning with no end in sight, the holy had soon received back-up and upon cornering the leader of their opponents, sealed their success.

Let me know what you think! I’m eager to hear your opinions on this first part of the prologue. The entire, edited, prologue will be available for reading soon!


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Goal Accomplished: The Magical 50k

The title says it all. After the rough challenges of getting past difficult scenes and moments I came to dread, 50,000 words now sit neatly in a document. The progress bar shows a new level of, well – progress. 35,000 words are left until the estimated end of my novel. A measly word count compared to 50,000. Together, they will merge to become the first draft of Tales of The Forbidden.

I’m ecstatic just thinking about having a completed novel!

Once finished, I won’t have much time to relax. I intend to dive right into writing the second novel of the series, Mercy of The Forbidden. After a short break, I’ll also get into the editing process of the first book. Turn this mistake-infested disaster into a real book. All this in between college and a part-time job.

I’m the type of person who tends to work better when I get pushed; when I have limited time. If one day, I have nothing planned, I’ll say, “I’ll write today.” and it will take much more effort to get myself to write. When I have a lot to do, I jump from task to task. Done with class and two hours left until I need to work? I’ll write – use the time available to me. For me, it’s the best way to do things.

Don’t be fooled. I can get a lot done on days I don’t necessarily have plans for. It’s just a matter of getting myself into gear and starting. Once I start, I don’t stop until I feel I’ve gotten enough done.

The first step is the hardest.

That step of my novel is behind me – now it’s time to finish it.

I also now have a Contact page for my blog. If you want to contact me outside of WordPress, that’s where you will find out how!

How do you work best? When busy, or when you have little to do?


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Creating the World

Believe it or not, sometimes even writers don’t keep their promises. A daily word count goal can fail under the stress of other things and just like that, you can hit a wall. If writing a specific word count a day isn’t your thing, then maybe you should try writing every day, but focusing on a weekly, or even monthly goal. It all comes to how much time you’re willing to commit to the craft and what you’re capable of.

Creating a world means you spend your time expanding on it – the surroundings, the realm and the characters who live inside it. Without believable characters who fit the world you’re crafting, the story won’t reach its full potential. Ponder the ideas you have, execute them and work hard to mold together every aspect of your creation. Writing the story itself is only half the battle; understanding your characters and the world they live in comes first and is another large section of it. Once all of that is over with, you’ll be able to focus on editing. But that’s another story entirely.

As of this moment, my daily word count goal of 1,000 words a day is failing. Why? Because sometimes I want to do other things. Throughout my long weekend, what I wrote is as followed:

Friday: 1,238
Saturday: 0
Sunday: 0
Monday: 1,500
Tuesday: 368

That makes for a grand total of 3,106 words in five days – 1,894 words short of the 5,000 I should have gotten if I’d stuck to my goal. Still, it’s more than I’ve written in weeks and that is what it’s all about. Writing. I may not make my goal every day, but I try my best and that helps me get words onto paper. It helps me progress in my story and the best part is that, even when I’m not writing, I am thinking about my novel; its characters, the environment, the plot, and everything around it. The thought process is more important and essential than many think. Without it, there would be no novel. I will not deny that there are some who can start writing the instant a hint of an idea pops into their subconscious, but even if they start that way, their mind will dwell and elaborate the story.

We writers are always working. Whether we’re lounging on a couch with our trusty notebook and pencil in hand, curled up with our laptop or sitting at our desk with our computer, or staring out the window: Our minds are always working, even if we sometimes don’t know it ourselves. In our subconscious, stuff is always being processed and created. With our knowledge, or without.

The above-noted word counts allowed me to both write the second half of chapter four, then proceed to write well into chapter five. Tuesday, I went back and did some editing to the disaster that was chapter four, by adding bits, changing things around and all-in-all, spicing it up a bit.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have.

While editing is key to great stories, it’s best done after the fact. I’ve already toned down my editing skills, but I can’t deny my inner editor everything. I have no problem with finishing a chapter, letting it sit for a few days while I move on, and then looking it over. Will I edit again once I finish the novel? Of course. Will I edit sometime throughout the course of the novel? Highly possible. The fact of the matter is to not limit yourself. You could say you won’t edit at all and be miserable with everything you’ve written and lose the will to go on, or you can find a way to make it work for you. The key is to keep writing.

Keep writing – it’s all that matters. If you do, you’re one step closer to accomplishing your goal.

What are your experiences when it comes to mixing writing new material with editing? What would you recommend others to do?